11 July 2011

chimichurri sauce over grilled steak

Well isn't this a pretty sight! Bright green chimichurri sauce over a chimichurri marinated grilled steak. I had it for the first time in years just a few weeks ago (hi Joyce and co!) and had been thinking about it ever since. And thus, last night's delicious dinner!
What's chimichurri, you ask? In a word, awesome.  In a few more descriptive words, it's a parsley-based Argentinian condiment that's a lot like a pesto sauce... herby, fragrant (garlicy awesomeness), fresh. This is a bit different from a traditional pesto because it's also tangy and quite spicy. It's an excellent topping for pretty much anything, and most commonly it tops grilled steak.

Oh and gee did I mention I got a new grill this year? Because I did! I got a Weber, and it's the first charcoal grill I've ever used. I invited my Cabo girls over for a grilling potluck as an opportunity to practice. I grew up with gas grills, so charcoal is a whole different ball game for me. A smoky, delicious ball game! The steaks came out perfectly and we supplemented with shrimp, corn, potato and pasta salads, and topped off with grilled peaches for dessert. I served my strawberry lemon-limeade, also. It was a delightful Sunday evening!

Chimicurri Sauce
adapted from chef blade

1 bunch flat leaf parsley
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp diced onion or shallot
1/3 C red wine vinegar
2/3 C olive oil
1/2 lemon - zest and juice
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch or freshly ground red pepper flakes

Pulse parsley in a food processor to chop. Add remaining ingredients and blend. (Or you can chop it all up and blend by hand.) Divide into 2 equal parts - half for marinade, half for topping. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours for flavors to marry. You can refrigerate it, but make sure to bring it to room temp before serving.

Marinate steak 2 hours up to overnight. Grill to desired tenderness. (For a guide to steak doneness, see here.) Allow steak to rest for at least 10 min for juices to redistribute. Slice on the diagonal for pretty presentation, and top with the chimichurri.

04 July 2011

Red Velvet Cookies

Happy 4th of July!
I love holidays - Give me a reason to make or bake up something theme-y, and I'm thrilled. One of these days when I have a family of my own, I'm so going to be That Mom who makes the tastiest little treats for back yard BBQs and t-ball games. I'll be That Mom who sends delectable home made goodies to school for birthdays (and to suck up to the teachers). One of these days...

Til then, I'll experiment here and there with fun themed things, like these red velvet cookies with a cream cheese icing and red and blue sprinkles. Patriotic, yay - just right to bring to a rooftop gathering to watch the DC fireworks tonight. You can use 2 of the cookies and sandwich the icing to make whoopie pies, but right now the individual cookies will do just fine. I doubled the original recipe, so this will make about 48 cookies or 24 sandwiches.
Red Velvet Cookies
adapted from Paula Deen

2 2/3 C flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1 3/4 C sugar
4 eggs
4 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp red food coloring

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix together the dry ingredients - from the flour to the salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Using a silicone spatula so nothing gets stained, mix in the buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring until well combined. Mix in dry ingredients until combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a medium cookie scoop (to scoop batter onto sheet, leaving at least 2" between each. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Allow to cool on pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 bars cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 C powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Mix in the vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar -- taste along the way to get your desired sweetness.

This was submitted for the Sweets for a Saturday post over at Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

03 July 2011

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Can I tell you a secret? Before this week, I don't recall ever eating zucchini in my life. The squash family in general isn't one that often makes an appearance at my table, but I'm trying to expand my horizons. And oh look at that, zucchini bread is on my Hit List this year.
I had no idea what to expect when I added zucchini bread to the Hit List. Would it be sweet? Would it be plain tasting? Would it be zucchini-y? Oh, right, I didn't know what zucchini tasted like. Lol turns out that it's a lot like pumpkin bread (oh right, they're related!) in regards to the zucchini adding moisture and healthy goodness, and generally doesn't add much of its own flavor. So I guess the trick is in what you put into it. I had blueberries in the fridge, found an a recipe using both, and it's viola! Sweet, juicy berries bursting inside a nicely spiced bread. Great use of summer produce.  

Blueberry Zucchini Bread
adapted from Allrecipes.com

3 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 C canola oil
1/2 C applesauce
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 C zucchini, shredded (about 2 7" zucchini)
1 pint blueberries 

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins or small loaf pans with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with about 1 tbsp of the dry ingredients. Set both aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and sugars until well combined. Fold in the zucchini. Mix in the dry ingredients until mostly combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. 

Fill loaf pans 3/4 of the way and/or muffin tins almost to the top. If using an 8"x4" loaf pan, bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. If using jumbo muffin pans, bake for 45 minutes. If using a regular muffin pan, bake for 30 minutes.